Former Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah was selected third overall by the Detroit Lions in the 2020 NFL Draft Thursday night.
Okudah was a starter the past two years for the Buckeyes, earning unanimous First-Team All-America honors, which was the first for an Ohio State cornerback despite the long list of All-Americans in school history.
Okudah was a finalist for the Thorpe Award as a junior.
With Okudah’s selection in the first round, the Buckeyes have now produced five first-round draft picks at cornerback in the last five years, and six first rounders in seven years. Okudah joins Denzel Ward (’18), Marshon Lattimore (’17), Gareon Conley (’17), Eli Apple (’16), and Bradley Roby (14).
Okudah is now the 13th Ohio State cornerback to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft since 1991.
As a junior, Okudah produced 35 tackles, three interceptions, 12 passes defended, one tackle for loss, and two forced fumbles.
Every starting cornerback for the Buckeyes since the 2013 season has been drafted.
Okudah’s rookie contract is expected to be in the range of $35 million for four years, with a team option for a fifth year.
Okudah is the first first-round Buckeye for Detroit since they selected offensive tackle Taylor Decker No. 16 overall in the 2016 draft. Decker has started all 55 games in his pro career at left tackle. The upcoming season will be the end of his five-year rookie contract.
The Lions also selected former Buckeye tackle Daryl Sanders in the first round of the 1963 NFL Draft. Sanders started every game in his four seasons.
In 1956, the Lions selected Heisman Trophy winner Howard “Hopalong” Cassady with the third pick overall.
In 1988, the Lions made their most productive Buckeye selection when they drafted Chris Spielman in the second round with the 29th pick overall. Spielman only missed four games in his eight years as a Lion, starting every contest in which he played. He is still the Lions’ all-time leader with 1,020 tackles.